Education

UWTSD part of Ceredigion group supporting refugees

Lampeter : A welcome for Syrian refugees
Lampeter : A welcome
for Syrian refugees

THE UNIVERSITY of Wales  Trinity Saint David is part of the  Syrian Refugee Task and Finish Group  led by Ceredigion County Council.  Ceredigion decided to accept the  Home Office’s invitation to become a  ‘Trailblazer Authority’ in supporting the  Syrian refugees last October and will  welcome the first group this week.  Ceredigion has become one of the  first counties in Wales to be able to accept  the refugees during Phase 1 of the Syrian  Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.  A limited number of properties from the  private sector have been identified and  tenancies will be managed by a voluntary  organisation.

This arrangement means  that there is no intention to place the  refugees in social housing.  Speaking of UWTSD’s role on the  Group, Dr Jane Davidson, Associate  Pro Vice-Chancellor with responsibility  for external engagement said: “The  University is keen to play its role in  addressing the major humanitarian  needs of Syrian refugees and to support  Ceredigion County Council in its  determination to offer a safe haven at this  difficult time. The University has therefore  agreed that exploratory conversations  should take place between the University  and Tai Ceredigion over potential use of  Bishop Burgess Hall in Lampeter, which  is surplus to University requirements,  for a small number of refugee families.  If those discussions prove positive, then  a planning application for change of use  will take place in the normal way”.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn,  Chairman of the Group and Council  Leader, said: “In becoming a Trailblazer  Authority, Ceredigion is able to contribute  to the Wales wide efforts as early as  possible to support the refugees. All of  the partners who are part of the Task and  Finish Group continue to work together in  aid of these efforts, and the arrangements  for receiving refugees are developing  well. The support that has been shown by  Ceredigion residents for the refugees is  very heartening as we seek to help in the  response to this emergency.”

The Task and Finish Group represents  the partnership approach coordinated  and lead by Ceredigion County Council  as part of the Local Service Board, with  representatives of each relevant partner  organisations forming part of the Group.  Lindsey Gilroy, the University’s Lampeter  campus Business Development Officer  is representing the University on the  group and has already been fundraising  and collecting fleeces to send to refugee  camps.  Possible arrivals have been identified  by the UNHCR from refugee camps in  the Middle East and referred through the  Home Office scheme to provide homes  for up to 20,000 refugees in the UK..”

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Dayne Stone

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